If you send marketing emails, chances are you have some sort of sign-up form on your website. So how do you create a sign-up process that works well for your business and your subscribers?

Here’s a good example from one of our customers, Gough Hotels, who have just launched a beautiful new website for Southwold Pier with a sign-up form powered by Horizon. Not only does the sign-up process capture useful data for their marketing team, it also provides a great user experience.

Southwold-Form

First things first – how does it work?
The form is built directly into the Southwold Pier website by their designers, but the data capture is powered by our Horizon API. Information that’s entered into the form is then pulled straight into their Horizon database. This means that all of their marketing data is automatically stored in one place, without the need for lots of lists and spreadsheets.

The form integrates perfectly with the design of the website and functions as a powerful tool for data capture.

So what can we learn from Southwold Pier’s sign-up form? Here are a few simple tips.

1. Respond Quickly

As soon as a user clicks the submit button, they’ll immediately see a ‘thank you’ message on the same page, telling them what happens next. Because Southwold Pier is using a double-opt in process, the user also receives a confirmation email within seconds.

Speed is important – if the confirmation email takes too long to show up, a potential subscriber may move on to something else and forget to go back and finish the sign-up process.

Southwold-Form-Thanks

This all happens automatically thanks to Horizon’s API integration, so the Southwold Pier team doesn’t have to do any extra work transferring data or sending follow up emails.

TIP: Give the user plenty of feedback throughout the process, and respond quickly to move them toward completing the sign-up. Marketing software that offers automation will save time.

2. Use double opt-ins

The double opt-in process helps them reduce the number of spam emails sent and ensure that subscribers want to receive their emails. Studies have shown that emails sent to subscribers using a double opt-in process get higher open rates, better engagement and fewer unsubscribes.

Horizon automatically triggers a confirmation email when someone completes the form. Only once the recipient has clicked on the confirm button will they be opted in to future emails.

Confirmation Email

The email also makes it clear what a new subscriber is opting in to – deals, events and exclusive invites. This can help convince recipients to take the extra step of confirming the subscription, and also builds trust by telling them what to expect.

TIP: Use a double opt-in process to minimise spam complaints and improve engagement.

3. Gather as much data as you can – but keep it simple

The initial sign-up form is pretty simple – it only asks for a name and email address. But once a new subscriber has clicked through the confirmation email, they’re taken to a landing page generated by Horizon, where they’re asked to provide a bit more information.

Gough Hotels uses this landing page to manage subscribers for all of their properties, including Southwold Pier. It’s a great way to cross-sell other services and build the subscriber lists for each brand.

Updating Preferences

Subscribers also have the opportunity to choose what kinds of content they want to receive. This helps Southwold Pier target their emails more effectively, and reassures subscribers that they’ll receive content they’re actually interested in.

TIP: Make the initial sign-up simple, and ask for more information further along in the process. Provide opt-in categories to make sure you’re sending relevant content.

Creating a great sign-up process is a balance between collecting the data you need and not making things too complicated. A little automation can make things simpler, save you time and provide a great experience for potential subscribers.